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In October 1994, local citizens put the 'Wiehltalbahn' project on track and incorporated the registered charitable society 'Förderkreis zur Rettung der Wiehltalbahn e.V. ('Society For The Preservation Of The Wiehl Valley Railway')'. Meanwhile the society has roughly 300 members.
Goal of the Project
... is to establish the Wiehltalbahn as backbone of a modern local transport system in the southern part of the 'Bergisches Land (Berg county)', but freight and tourist trains will also serve the region.
Initially the preservation society was perceived as a mere transport policy association, but it became clear very quickly that the line (that had also been closed for freight traffic in 1994) would fall into oblivion without traffic. With the re-opening of the first section for tourist traffic in 1999, the preservation society raised awareness of the railway line again. The new millenium nevertheless began with renewed discussions concerning the survival of the line which finally led to a legal battle-royal. The courts decided in favour of the railway. These verdicts are nationwide trend-setting and are known as the 'Wiehltalbahn-Verdicts'.
By now the 'preservation society' operates the line between Osberghausen and Waldbröl in co-operation with the 'Rhein-Sieg-Eisenbahn G.m.b.H. (Rhine-Sieg-Railway Ltd.)' and the 'WB Wiehltalbahn G.m.b.H. (Wiehl Valley Railway Ltd.)' with tourist and freight traffic.
But due to construction projects like the restructuring of Wiehl Stn., the restoration of the 'Denklingen Railway Bridge' according to specifications for monument preservation and the construction of the new 'Boxberg roundabout' in Waldbröl, as well as a new lawsuit concerning the erection of an workshop too close to the rails, the line can currently (2017) only be used as far as Wiehl.
The 'Bergischer Löwe (lion of the 'Berg' county)' is a joint venture between the 'preservation society' and the 'Dieringhausen Railway Museum' and evolved meanwhile into a successful tourist attraction in the Berg county. It consists of a historic steam train (steam locomotive 'Waldbröl' and 3-4 'thunder boxes') and an historic MAN Diesel railcar unit (currently (2017) inoperative due to the regular general inspection).
The 'preservation society' is also pressing ahead with the re-opening of the Morsbach branch and is advocating the installation of a modern public tranportation system in the southern part of the upper 'Berg' county with the 'Wiehltalbahn' as its backbone.
So there are multiple activities by the 'Wiehltalbahn' enthusiasts - ranging from commitment to traffic policy, over track maintainance and running the trains to rediscovering the past of the line.
Accordingly, there are also many ways of joining in - be it by active work input, by a donation or by membership to the 'Preservation Society'. Just download the PDF form to get involved in the 'Preservation Society' (German only), print it, complete it and send it back to us.
You already are a mamber and some of your personal data changed recently? In this case you can download the change request form (German only) and send it back to us completed.